Spacious outside areas create quiet shaded learning spaces and provide ample room for exploring.

Baby room

Babies feel secure in their own classroom, equipped with cots, soft flooring, mats and toys.


The shaded playground has specialist soft flooring with quality equipment and a large walk in sandpit.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Toddler tantrums: why do they happen and what can I do?

Why does my toddler throw tantrums?

Toddlers will 'act out' for a number of reasons. Sometimes, as discussed in my last post, it is a way of testing boundaries

Children may also display unsettled behaviour if their routine changes, or if there is no routine. It is their way of telling you they need those boundaries and routines.

A classic reason for toddler tantrums is often for attention. If your little one wants attention, they don't care how they get it or whether it is positive or negative attention, they just want your full attention. This is often why a new baby in the family can result in a change in your toddler's behaviour as they want the attention back and will do anything they can think of to get it. 

Frustration or an inability to express themselves is another common reason for acting out in toddlers. They are learning and developing at a phenomenal rate but they haven't quite figured out how to express themselves properly yet. This frustration can lead to almighty meltdowns and misunderstandings.

Boredom can also play a part in your little one's behaviour. As mentioned, the developmental spurt they are going through means they want to be challenged and stimulated and the things that used to do that don't cut it anymore. Unfortunately they may not be able to explain this to you properly, leading to frustration and a meltdown.
While there are many reasons why your child may throw a tantrum, the ones I have listed above are just a few to be aware of. At the end of the day, you know your little one best and will be able to recognize the route cause of a tantrum once you get used to looking for it.

So what are some ways of helping my child (and me!) through this time?

Make sure you spend quality time with them - have a certain time with them each day that is all about you and your little one, giving them your full attention during this time.

Boundaries and routines - see my last post for information on why boundaries and routines are so important in helping your child to develop happily and healthily.

Try and understand them - a toddler wants to be independent and at times can seem very grown up, but at other times they want to be babied. It's an odd in-between time in their development and it can help if you are aware of this yo-yoing they are going through and support them through it. 

Be consistent - decide how you are going to handle your toddler's tantrums and try and follow the same process as much as you can each time. Your little one needs the boundaries and routines and it will help you stay in control. 

Don't change your mind - whatever you say must be followed through. If not, your super smart toddler will soon realize that you don't mean what you say and will not care about the threats you make or the rewards you offer. If you say they have 3 chances, after the 3rd make sure you follow through with the consequence you previously explained to them. Children need to learn that actions have consequences and experience this first hand.

Don't give them negative attention - as mentioned above, children will soon realize if the best way to get your attention is to throw an almighty fit. Stay as calm as you can and deal with the tantrum in a restrained way. Calm them down then talk to them about it afterwards. Once they have managed to control themselves, give them lots of positive attention. 

Positive attention - when your toddler does something to be proud of, make a huge fuss of them! They will soon learn that positive actions lead to lots of attention and they will be less likely to play up to get negative attention. It is a good idea to give rewards for positive actions and their behaviour will soon change.

Explain yourself - very calmly explain to your child why what they are doing is not acceptable, what you would like them to do and what the consequences of their actions will be if they carry on. They need to understand what is happening so they can take some control of the situation and learn from their actions.

Give them space - at this time in their development, toddlers are becoming independent and they need to be able to try things for themselves in order to develop these important skills. Let them know you are there to support them if they need it but that they are grown up enough to try by themselves. For example, let them try putting on their own clothes, feed themselves and tidy up by themselves. Toddlers who are not used to doing things by themselves are often more likely to throw tantrums when they suddenly don't get the help they are used to or don't get what they want.

Don't worry if it all goes wrong - dealing with toddler tantrums can be incredibly tough and knowing the magic key to calming them down, dealing with your own emotions as well as theirs and trying to stay calm can be very difficult. Try your best and know when to step back, take a deep breath and try again. None of us are perfect and it is okay to approach a tantrum in a way that doesn't work for you and your child. It will be trial and error to find the most effective approach and try to make mental notes on what did and didn't work for you last time.

Remember, while you will always have times that your children will push the boundaries, the 'terrible two's' is just a phase and there is light at the end of the tunnel. You and your little one can get through this time of huge change, just stay strong and give them lots of love :)

For more information and ideas, check out our Facebook page

See you soon!

 Katie is an Early Years specialist in Dubai, where she 
manages an EYFS nursery. She has a special interest 
in psychology and early childhood development.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

How to set boundaries for toddlers

How many of you have experienced your toddler telling you what to do, answering back or
throwing an almighty tantrum when they don't get their way? You are not alone!

Part of your child's development at this age is to start testing their power and ability to control situations and different people, especially those they hold dearest! They need to know how far they can go and that their caregivers are able to give them limits. To learn this, they play up, don't do what they are told and generally see how far they can push you. Your little one needs to know when they have gone too far and they want to be stopped. 

It is important for children of all ages to have boundaries they understand and that are consistent, and it is especially important for toddlers who are going through a lot of changes. No matter what our age, we all need a set of rules to adhere to (or rebel against!), it is part of what psychologists call 'theory of mind', which makes us human. Our lives would feel chaotic and disorganized if we didn't have rules in place. It is no different for your little one. 

Toddlers also have to learn to express their feeling appropriately, another important stage in their development. Dealing with your toddler pushing boundaries can be frustrating, upsetting and make you want to tear your hair out but it is worth it in the end! I will be giving some advice on dealing with tantrums in my next post :) 

It can be understandably difficult to stick to your guns when your child is pushing you to the limit. However, giving in can be more detrimental to both yourself and your child in the long run. Try your best to stick to your bottom line no matter what. It is important to keep your authority as a parent and not give your child control of the household. 

So now you may have a good idea why boundaries are important, but how do you set positive boundaries with your little one? Here are some tips:

Make your boundaries clear

You need to try and pre-define what is and isn't okay in your house and the consequences that will follow. This is important for both you and your child as in the heat of the moment, it will be much easier for you to stick to your guns if you are confident what they are. It is important for your child as they need to understand what their boundaries are so they know whether they are crossing them or not and what the consequence is if they do. It can be useful with little ones to have visual prompts that you can use to illustrate your expectations and then use them as reminders.  

Follow through with your consequences

Be clear, calm and concise when discussing boundaries and ensure your child understands. When your child crosses a boundary make sure you follow through with whatever you explained initially. Your little one needs to know you mean what you say and understand that actions have consequences in order to develop important life skills. Please don't contradict yourself or your child's other carers. This will lead to a breakdown in respect and it will be much harder to build it up again. 

Be prepared to re-think

If something doesn't work, don't despair, have a rethink when you are calm and try again.
Just make sure you explain it all to your child so they are aware of any changes in your expectations. A lot of parenting involves thinking on your feet and we don't always get it right! Instead take a deep breath, know that you are only human and try again :)

I know it can be a very tough and trying time but you and your child will get through it and the more consistency there is, the better! 

Good luck and for more information and ideas, check out our Facebook page !

See you soon!

 Katie is an Early Years specialist in Dubai, where she 
manages an EYFS nursery. She has a special interest 
in psychology and early childhood development.